NEXT STAGE OF UNIFYING TARIFF REGULATION
On 30 April the Government of the Russian Federation approved the new rules for considering tariff disputes and disagreements
The Federal laws on tariff regulation in different spheres establish FAS powers with regard to decision-making on various prejudicial tariff regulation disputes and disagreements. For a long time, however, the law lacked a unified procedure for considering tariff disputes and disagreements. By-laws set the procedures for considering tariff disputes in accord with the sectoral principle. In some cases, though, these acts specified different periods and procedures even for the same tariff dispute. Absence of a unified procedure for considering disputes between regulated organizations and Regional Energy Commissions generates enforcement issues and decreases considerably the quality of federal control over tariff decisions made by the authorities of the subjects of the Russian Federation.
A Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of 30 April 2018 approved the unified rules for considering tariff disputes and disagreements. The rules for prejudicial disputes and tariff disagreements will be extrapolated to such spheres as heating, water and electric power supply, water drainage, technological; connection to grids, etc.
To consider a dispute, one of the parties should file a statement to FAS no later than three months after the party learned or must have learned about breaching its rights. The antimonopoly body has ten days to make a decision on considering the case or refusing to consider the case. Earlier, the law of the Russian Federation formalized different periods for considering prejudicial disputes and tariff disagreements - from 30 to 90 days. Now the consideration period for all disputes by FAS shall be 90 days.
The Decree specifies elements of the procedure designed to achieve the maximum objective and comprehensive consideration of prejudicial disputes in tariff regulation. Disputes will be considered in the presence of the claimant and the defendant in the prejudicial dispute that are notified about the place of dispute consideration five calendar days before the dispute consideration. Before or in the course of dispute consideration the parties can file petitions, give explanations, present documents and other information that can be relevant to the dispute.
Unlike the “predecessor rules”, the new procedure formalizes possibility of involving federal executive bodies in prejudicial disputes consideration that execute the functions for developing and pursuing the state policy and regulation in the fuel-and-energy complex, the housing-and-utility complex or transport, depending on the subject-mater of a prejudicial dispute.
According to the Government Decree, the parties to a dispute are allowed to take part in its consideration.
Based on the results of considering a prejudicial dispute, the antimonopoly authority makes one of the following decisions:
- To answer the claim (fully or partly)
- To dismiss the claim.
At the same time, the new procedure has a norm that if in the course of considering a dispute, the antimonopoly body exposes violations of the law of the Russian Federation on state tariff regulation (including those not related to the claim), the competition authority makes a decision in view of all exposed violations.
“The new procedure for considering tariff disputes and disagreements will enable efficient protection of the rights of tariff regulation participants and improve the quality of federal state control over government tariff regulation”, said Deputy Head of FAS Sergey Puzyrevskiy.